Shift Key Reverses Your Keyboard Shortcuts

This simple thing never really liked me until I saw it on Reddit : in many keyboard shortcuts on Windows and macOS, adding the Shift key makes the shortcut do the opposite of what it normally does.

Some examples (on Mac, replace ctrl or alt with cmd):

  • ctrl-z = undo; shift-ctrl-z = repeat
  • space = page down; shift-space = page up
  • ctrl-tab (same on Mac) = next tab; shift-ctrl-tab = last tab
  • alt-tab = next app; shift-alt-tab = latest app
  • ctrl-t = open a new tab; shift-ctrl-t = reopen last closed tab

You will notice that on almost any move label, you can add a nudge to move in the opposite direction.

Sometimes shift changes the action:

  • ctrl-n = new file / document / item; shift-ctrl-n = new folder / smart item
  • ctrl-v = paste; shift-ctrl-v = cut formatting and paste (great for moving text between documents and emails)
  • ctrl-r = refresh; shift-ctrl-r = very difficult to update

So add shift to your favorite keyboard shortcuts and do everything backwards.


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